Rivalry finally emerging after 34 years of Safeway Bowl history
SMU football will clash with UNT this Saturday for the 35th time in school history. SMU leads the series 28-5-1 but UNT has won three of the last five meetings.
In 1994, UNT head coach Matt Simon challenged SMU for not scheduling the Mean Green by saying, “I’d like to play because I think we could beat them, and my players feel the same way. If they’d like to play on a Safeway parking lot … just give us a date and time.” Since then, many have called this game the Safeway Bowl.
The two teams first met in October 1922 at Armstrong Field. The game resulted in a 66-0 SMU victory. The teams went on to play every year, except 1930, up until 1942. SMU was 18-1-1 in that period, giving up only 30 points in 20 games. In fact, they shutout UNT in the first six in a row. The teams would not play again until 1974.
When the series did pick up again in 1974, it moved to a larger venue. The teams played at the Cotton Bowl twice and Texas Stadium six times. SMU dominated this era as well, only losing once. Since 1984, the series has been sporadic and last season was the first meeting since 2007. UNT won the 2014 matchup 43-6.
For many years, the results of this series did not seem to reflect a true rivalry. In recent years however, the two teams have become more competitive and the game has truly become an important date on each teams’ respective calendar. The Mustangs and Mean Green are currently scheduled to play every year, alternating home venues, until 2025.